Sept. 3, 2009
By Moisekapenda Bower
All Terrance Garmon needed was time to become acclimated with his surroundings.
Garmon had juggled multiple extracurricular activities on top of his responsibilities as a standout safety and hurdler for John Tyler High School in Tyler, Tex., serving as student council executive vice president and participating in the International Baccalaureate Program while remaining actively involved in his community. He was predisposed to similar experiences at Rice, so once he adapted to the demands of playing linebacker for the Owls and thriving academically, the rest flowed naturally.
It comes as no surprise that Garmon volunteered his time reading to grade school students and conducting seminars on nutrition and hydration. He was an ideal candidate to orchestrate an event for the Office of International Students and Scholars that shared the culture of American sports to international students. And, given his experiences as a liaison between faculty and students in high school, Garmon was equipped for the role of peer academic advisor as an upperclassman.
"As a freshman, going to study hall and meeting with an academic advisor every week really had a great impact on my life as far as where I wanted to go career-wise and what classes I wanted to take," Garmon said. "I built a really good relationship with them and appreciated all the work they've done for me, so I wanted to return the favor to my other peers and tell them the ins and outs (of Rice academically).
"To help out any way I can because I've been there and I've done it (is the primary goal). I don't want them to make the same mistakes that I've made in the past."
Those mistakes have diminished with experience on the gridiron, too, where Garmon opens his senior season as the leader of the Owls' linebackers. Garmon played his way into the starting lineup by the close of his freshman season in 2006, fought through an injury-marred sophomore season, and returned as a junior to finish third on the team with 66 tackles and 2.5 sacks. In customary fashion, Garmon served as a mentor to junior linebacker Justin Hill, a former tailback who switched positions in the spring and sought advice from Garmon, a clear leader by example.
That characteristic will serve Garmon, a history major with designs on pre-law, well occupationally. His father, Bobby Garmon, is the chief deputy in Tyler and his brother, Robert, is a U.S. Marshal based in McAllen. But before Garmon can tackle what appears to be a bright future, he has to complete a prosperous, selfless career.
"When you first come in the seniors say, `It's going to go by real fast,' and you're like, `Whatever.'" Garmon said. "I can remember the first day when my parents dropped me off. It's been a long ride; with all the hard workouts and practices you think it will never end, but it really does. This last year I'm going to try and make the most of it. I'm going to try to use all the resources I can and express what I've learned these past four years to the incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors."
As a student-athlete who passes on his experiences to help the next generation of Rice Owls, while also inspiring potential future Owls, Terrance Garmon is one of Tomorrow's Leaders.
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